Sony on Friday launched a subsidiary dedicated to optical communications in space.
The new company, Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSCC), plans to develop small optical communications devices that connect satellites in low Earth orbit using a laser beam, and provide the resulting connection as a service.
Sony said in a canned statement that these smaller devices can provide high-speed communications more effectively than radios, because they don’t require a large antenna, high power output, or complex licenses.
Laser instruments can communicate with both ground stations and orbiting satellites. SSCC President Kyohei Iwamoto called communication operating only between the ground and satellites as “problematic”, as it meant that communication would require the SAT to pass through a ground station.
“There are currently about 12,000 satellites in space, and the number is expected to increase in the future. The amount of data used in orbit is also increasing from year to year, but the amount of radio waves available is limited,” the president said. Told.
The new Sony outfit will be based in San Mateo, Calif., but details of when its technology is expected to be commercialized have not been revealed.
Sony said it had successfully sent high-definition image data from the International Space Station (ISS) to a ground station via a bidirectional laser communications link in a test. After this, two years later, in 2022, with the help of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), data file transfer at 446 megabits per second was completed from the stratosphere into space.
In those tests, Sony used CSL Forward Error Correction (FEC), which is essentially a laser reading technology that corrects a limited number of errors without the need for retransmission derived from Blu-ray technology.
Sony believes it’s got it in the bag because of its years of experience working with lasers for CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and other industrial applications. Sony has created a number of devices, such as the orbital optical communications equipment it intends to produce, that are “ultra-compact, lightweight, mass-producible, and can withstand harsh environments.”